Advisers up and down the country are offering free surgeries and working with local and national media to help raise awareness of financial planning as part of a week-long national campaign.
Financial Planning Week, the Institute of Financial Planning’s annual consumer awareness campaign, kicked off last Sunday.
The initiative, now in its sixth year, aims to encourage consumers to take some simple steps to improve and take control of their finances, as well as raise the profile of the financial planning industry.
A number of financial planning firms offered drop-in sessions to the public for free as part of the campaign.
Manchester-based Smart Financial is offering surgeries throughout the week while producing a series of blogs and top 10 tips to be shared online and through social media.
Smart Financial managing director Steve Martin says: “There are still far too many people who do not understand the difference between financial planning and product-flogging nonsense.
“This is an opportunity for the financial planning community to work together, and to share its expertise and knowledge to help people across the UK become more financially fit and put financial planning on the map.”awa
County Durham-based Eldon Financial Planning recorded a series of radio broadcasts aired daily on local radio station, Radio Teesdale.
Eldon chartered financial planner Joss Harwood says: “The recordings chime with the Financial Planning Week ethos of making people more aware of their financial planning needs and where they can get information – from the Money Advice Service to how to find an financial adviser.
“We also ran financial planning surgeries, which are designed for people who might not normally have their finances reviewed. They talk to us about anything they wish, from a pensions statement they do not understand to a question about tax.”
National firm Mazars wrote articles for the consumer press, including The Sun newspaper.
Mazars chartered financial planner Mark Brownridge says: “We kept the message simple with things like checklists, such as five ways to invest more cheaply. This initiative is about spreading the word about financial planning.
“We also made one of our planners in London available to take calls about any aspect of financial planning. It is a good opportunity for people to get advice without having to pay for it.”
Cardiff-based advice firm Penguin also wrote articles for the national press and has launched a website to help educate consumers on money matters.
Penguin certified financial planner Craig Palfrey says: “We are doing all we can to support Financial Planning Week.
“We were open for drop-in surgeries and emailed all friends of the business to tell them this is available. We also offered some key contacts of our business, including two accountancy firms, our services for half a day during the week.
“I hope Financial Planning Week will inspire and enable people from all walks of life to take a few simple and practical steps that will help them gain control of their finances.”
Other advice firms getting involved include Informed Choice, which ran an investment seminar at its local arts centre and wrote articles on money and investment tips for the consumer press.
The IFP also ran a number of initiatives, such as an ‘ask a planner’ facility on its website which allows consumers to get online answers to their money questions, and a Twitter discussion from 1-2pm on 29 November.
IFP chief executive Steve Gazzard says: “Financial planning is not just for the wealthy, it is for everyone. Our campaign aims to show this with a back to basics approach.”